The Wheels are in Motion

by Erica Clements
Week 2

What a whirlwind of a week! The majority of my week was dedicated to continuing to prepare the Motion to Dismiss for Managing Partner Frank Sheppard. Although it was a time and research-intensive project, I know it was well worth it. I became much more familiar with employment law, and drafting a motion for federal court on a short time frame helped me recognize some areas for improvement in my research and writing process. I made sure to take notes of areas I can improve for next time, and I received very positive feedback on my written work product. Being given harder projects may cause a bit of stress in the short term, but I felt honored to be trusted with a tough project right out of the gate, and I look forward to continuing to improve.

On Thursday, I had lunch with Partners Sally Culley and Samantha Duke and Associate Madison Buckley. We went to Kres Chophouse, and it has quickly become a favorite of mine – I love the rich, red ambience and the food is impressive as well. We discussed the upcoming Opening and Closing Workshop, as well as fun topics like our favorite card and board games.

Later that afternoon, I drove to Tampa ahead of the Friday morning workshop in the Tampa office. After getting a wee bit turned around in downtown Tampa, I made it to the hotel. The room was spacious, and I was so excited to relax on a plush, king-sized bed before transitioning to the desk for more work on the Motion to Dismiss and my opening statement.

The next morning, I headed over to the Tampa office from my hotel, and I have to say – the views of Tampa Bay are pretty breathtaking. My spirits continued to stay high because everyone I met in the Tampa office had a big smile on their face and made me feel at home.

I was up first for the workshop, and when Partner Rob Blank came into the conference room it was time to give my opening statement. Although I probably would have preferred to represent the defendant, I felt that I was able to apply the theories I had learned and give an effective presentation advocating for the plaintiff. Everyone offered positive and constructive feedback, and it is exciting to begin exploring my oral advocacy style. My favorite part was listening to everyone’s feedback and engaging in a collaborative brainstorming process on what tactics or arguments are memorable and what styles of engagement are likely to captivate potential jurors. The rest of the summer associates did an excellent job, and each of us brought something unique to the table. Although it is something I was a little bit nervous about, it went very smoothly, and it was truthfully a lot of fun.

Toasting to a great workshop with Rob

Lastly, we went to lunch at the oldest restaurant in Florida, The Columbia. The food was delicious, and Rob ordered sangria for the table that was the best I’ve ever had (I’ll admit, I haven’t had that much sangria, but it was very good). We were even serenaded by our waiter, which was an unexpected delight. After a leisurely lunch, I left for home and my work week drew to a close.

All in all, it was a challenging, but very rewarding week, and I’m reminded that I came here to learn to become the best lawyer I can be. I am extremely grateful to be learning from such kind and helpful mentors, and I am excited for what is in store. Next week, here I come.

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